Sporting KC @ Vancouver Whitecaps
When: Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 at 7:00 PM CT (Kickoff 7:08)
Where: BC Place
How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | ESPN+ (out of market) | SportingKC.com & SKC App (in market) | Sporting One App on Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV
How to Listen: La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City enter match day six feeling a lot better about how things are going in 2022. Sure, they are still 0-3-0 on the road, where Saturday’s match will be, but they are 2-0-0 at home and sitting level on points with the final playoff position with a ton of time to go. Plus, the team welcomed back attacking stars Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi and Khiry Shelton.
The cure for the team’s road woes could be just around the corner as SKC will travel to Canada to play the league’s worst team, the Vancouver Whitecaps (technically they are level on points with the San Jose Earthquakes, Inter Miami and CF Montreal). Vancouver have just a single point through four games, while SKC sit with six through five. Adding to the Caps issues, they have a negative seven goal differential.
The MLS season is still young, so early standings likely don’t mean much. And history doesn’t always repeat itself (look at last week, SKC beat Real Salt Lake somehow). But historically, Vancouver struggle against Kansas City. Sporting are 11-4-4 all-time against the Caps, including 5-1-1 in the last seven regular season meetings. However, the Whitecaps did win the last meeting at BC Place, a 2-1 result last October. The teams did meet in the playoffs where now full-time head coach Vanni Sartini guaranteed a win before losing 3-1.
Saturday will be the chance for Vancouver’s revenge.
Vancouver’s Recent Form
As mentioned, it’s not great.
- February 26th @ Columbus Crew — 0-4 Loss
- March 5th vs. New York City FC — 0-0 Draw
- March 12th @ Houston Dynamo — 1-2 Loss
- March 20th @ LAFC — 1-3 Loss
So Vancouver managed a point against an NYCFC team who were tired from CCL. It was admittedly their only home game, so I guess it’s no different than SKC going into last week, except KC won theirs against a much lesser opponent.
What’s New for Vancouver in 2022?
I’ll take the easy way out again and point you back to my colleague David Greenwald’s preseason preview of the Whitecaps. Since that publishing date (Feb 19th), they have made two moves. They added two free agents, both MLS veterans. They signed goalkeeper Cody Cropper and Canadian forward Tosaint Ricketts. Of the two, Ricketts has played a single minute.
OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (knee surgery), Jose Mauri (unavailable)
QUESTIONABLE - Uri Rosell (hamstring), Kortne Ford (ankle)
*This has been updated based on the official injury report.
Vermes on Uri Rosell: "He hasn't really trained as much as the other guys... he's still a work in progress."— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) March 31, 2022
"He's much more in the area of questionable and even travel tomorrow." #SportingKC #VANvSKC
Both Logan Ndenbe and Marinos Tzionis should be available, but they each played Tuesday. Ndenbe put in a half for the Belgian U21s and Tzionis played 80 minutes and scored a banger for Cyprus.
@SportingKC winger Marinos Tzionis with a belter for Cyprus against Estonia pic.twitter.com/rGNglOwHfh— Shoot The Defence Media Network (@ShootTheDefence) March 29, 2022
OUT - Caio Alexandre (left foot, fifth metatarsal surgery)
QUESTIONABLE - Erik Godoy (calf), Brian White (right calf tightness)
Goals: Daniel Salloi, Roger Espinoza, Remi Walter, Johnny Russell (1)
Assists: Cam Duke, Felipe Hernandez (1)
Goals: Tristan Blackmon, Lucas Cavallini (1)
Assists: Cristian Dajome, Ryan Gauld (1)
Starting XI Predictions
This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day.
Sporting KC have two 1-0 wins in 2022. A year after they failed to get a single 1-0 win. It was either score two goals (or more) or lose (or tie). Saturday’s performance didn’t exactly inspire. Real Salt Lake were pretty beat up, with over half their starters out. Despite that, they were the better team in the first half at Children’s Mercy Park. Not until a fortunate (let’s not call it lucky) bounce on a Johnny Russell pass came back to him for the game winning goal.
To defend KC, Russell and Salloi returned to the starting lineup after missing multiple games. They were also joined by Ben Sweat, who was making just his second start and going the full 90 for the first time all year. At center forward they had a guy, Nikola Vujnovic, who had never played with both Russell and Salloi next to him. Not until Shelton subbed in did Sporting find that goal.
They are a team still finding their rhythm and health. They could get back Uri Rosell this weekend, but I wouldn’t start him (a) because of his injury type and (b) because of how he performed against Atlanta United in the opener.
As for a result, Sporting needs to at least get a point. Even then, not winning against what appears to be a lowly Vancouver team, would probably be seen as a disappointment. A draw is a safe prediction, but let’s hope for a win. I’ll be cautious though, until this team proves to me I shouldn’t be in my predictions.
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